By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: A day after arresting the promoters of scam-hit AgriGold on charges of money laundering, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday attached the company’s properties worth Rs 4,109 crore spread across various South Indian States and in Odisha under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). 

The attached assets include Haailand Amusement Park in the name of Arka Leisure and Entertainments Private Limited in Guntur district spread over 48 acres of land.

The ED had on Wednesday arrested Avva Venkata Rama Rao, Avva Venkata S Narayana Rao and Avva Hema Sundara Vara Prasad, the promoters of AgriGold Group of Companies, under the PMLA.

ALSO READ | Enforcement Directorate arrests Agri Gold chairman, three others 

They have been sent to 14 days’ judicial custody by a court in Hyderabad.

The attached assets include 2,809 properties, Haailand Amusement Park and shares of various companies, plants and machinery. 

The assets attached provisionally under the PMLA are located in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, the ED said in a statement.The ED has initiated a probe into the matter after going through various FIRs filed against the accused in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka for allegedly duping over 32 lakh investors after collecting Rs 6,380 crore from them.In the statement, the ED said the scam was perpetrated by accused Avva Venkata Rama Rao through AgriGold Group of Companies. 

Venkata Rama Rao hatched a conspiracy along with his seven brothers and other associates and set up more than 150 companies and started collecting deposits from the general public with a promise of providing developed plots/farm lands or withdrawal at a high rate of return on maturity/pre-term. “Thousands of commission agents were engaged to lure people with various schemes for hefty commission and the company had managed to collect Rs 6,380 crore from 32,02,628 investors. In the end, the gullible investors neither got plots nor their deposits,’’ the ED said. 

The investigation under the PMLA revealed that AgriGold used to lure the gullible public to join as depositors in their schemes either directly or through their agents under the pretext of real estate deals. 

“Investigation under the PMLA revealed that Avva Venkata Rama Rao and his family went on a siphoning spree and illegally diverted the public deposits and invested in myriad verticals and in private companies, which were directly owned by their family. Their names also figured in the Paradise papers  and they had incorporated companies with the help of the infamous Mossack Fonseca in Cayman Islands,’’ the Enforcement Directorate said. 

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